Determinants of tobacco-related health literacy: A qualitative study with early adolescents.

International journal of nursing studies

PubMedID: 27459318

Parisod H, Axelin A, Smed J, Salanterä S. Determinants of tobacco-related health literacy: A qualitative study with early adolescents. Int J Nurs Stud. 2016;6271-80.
Today's adolescents are used to a constant information flow, but many face difficulties in processing health-related information due to low health literacy. There is still need for deeper understanding on the determinants of health literacy in relation to adolescents to guide the development of health literacy instruments and interventions.

The purpose of this study was to explore, from the perspective of early adolescents, the determinants of health literacy in the context of tobacco-related health communication.

A qualitative descriptive study.

Two schools located in the south of Finland. One school represented a typical Finnish public school with students following general curriculum and the other represented a Finnish public school with students with special educational needs.

Purposively selected sample of 10-13-year-old early adolescents (n=39) from the two schools to obtain a varied group of early adolescents representing different kinds of literacy levels.

We conducted 10 focus groups with early adolescents and analyzed the data using the theoretical thematic analysis method. We used a combination of the determinants presented in three adolescent-specific health literacy models as the theoretical framework of deductive analysis. The remaining data extracts were coded inductively. We sorted the codes under sub-themes that represented different determinants of health literacy. These were further divided between three themes: "personal", "external", and "mediating" determinants. Finally, we named the themes with an expression that embodied the early adolescents' views and experiences.

Early adolescents' descriptions revealed that the list of determinants presented in the three adolescent-specific health literacy models is not comprehensive enough. Early adolescents brought up how their motives, self-efficacy, and role expectations determine their health literacy in addition to the other personal determinants presented in the previous models. Their descriptions also suggest that external determinants include interpersonal relations with authorities, idols and random people, and the socio-cultural atmosphere as new factors. New mediating determinants that have a separate influence on health literacy were recognized based on early adolescents' descriptions as well.

Our findings give a new, adolescent-oriented insight on the determinants of adolescents' health literacy. Based on the findings, there are additional personal, external, and mediating determinants that are not included in the current adolescent-specific health literacy models. These newly found determinants require attention and further exploration. The acquired knowledge can be used for strengthening existing adolescent-specific health literacy models, and as a basis of health literacy instrument and intervention development.